Thursday, April 24, 2014

spring evenings

i cannot tell you how wonderful it is to be OUTSIDE this spring! we are ALL so much happier (well, except for the allergies for a couple of us...but it's still better than winter!!)

monday evening was perfection. and we had no sports!
so i took joshua to the batting cage. while he batted, bailey and i ran around the parking lot. we started her "couch to 5k" training. i'm holding that loosely...but i'd love to keep it up through the spring and into the summer. rebekah and joshua both run each week on their own (it's one of their chores...)

rebekah watched joshua bat. and the 3 little boys had brought bases, bats and balls and played a whiffle ball game in the parking lot (in the back section where there were NO cars ;-)) i had packed dinner and we ate it at a picnic table before heading home for baths/showers and bed! it was the PERFECT afternoon/evening, in my opinion!!

{us running}
 sawyer and levi watching joshua hit.
tuesday evening was a close second. joshua had his first baseball game of the season. rebekah had a guitar concert. and my parents came to watch it all! AND there was a rainbow in the sky as the game was about to start!

he was SO excited to finally get to play a game!
and he (sawyer) changed his whole outfit to be able to "cheer" for joshua's team (they are the Nationals. and we just happen to have a few shirts/hats for them ;-))

joshua was 1st up to bat. made it onto first base (got hit by the ball...but we'll take what we can get!)
made it to second. then made it all the way home! first run of the game!

after the 1st inning, we had to leave and go to rebekah's guitar concert...
she has really enjoyed guitar this year..and is sticking with it next year. i'm so glad!!
they are the best grandparents! our kids are so blessed!!!
and then back to the baseball game for the end. what a fun evening!!!
tonight is sawyer's first tball game. i can hardly stand it...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

summer hair (that's what we'll go with!)

our African boys got some summer haircuts. or that's what we'll call them. in all honesty, they were were both a result of serious drama:

(levi cried EVERY morning when i had to brush his hair. to the point that my stomach was in knots waking him up and knowing the drama that was going to follow. it just wasn't worth it anymore. i LOVED his little afro...and so did he...he cried when we said we were going to cut it. but he is MUCH happier with the result! and lincoln. he was trying to grow his hair "like levi's". we knew it would never look like levi's - they just have different hair, but we were ok with him trying to grow it out. until i realized one morning that he was pulling CHUNKS of it out. there were PILES of his hair by his bed. when i asked him WHY? he was pulling his hair out, his answer was, "because it was just sitting there doing nothing!" oh my goodness. that lazy hair of his! :/ we shaved it that morning. he cried. but i think he looks so much better with it shaved.)

here are some good "before" pictures:


and "after":

these boys

they seriously have SO.MUCH.FUN together.
lately it's been even more so.
especially between sawyer and lincoln.
it makes my heart so happy.
this is one of the MAIN reasons lincoln is HOME...to have positive interactions instead of all negative (which is what was happening with him in school.)
it's SO good. for ALL of us!!!
we went on a bike ride. fed the fish. and ducks. lingered. laughed. 
 questioned. answered. watched. listened.
 ate lunch.
the next few weeks, lincoln is going to have less "structured" school time. and our mornings are going to be more active. more "learn as we go." it's my last few weeks with sawyer home in the mornings (he goes full day next year!) and i've struggled big-time with losing the time i have with him because i'm teaching lincoln. i'm going to embrace the time with him. and let them all be little boys. no worries...lincoln will still learn. ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

easter 2014

happy easter!!!
we took 1 picture. and got this! pretty impressive.
it was right after breakfast, so we all look a little sleepy, but it was nice to have it over with!

i made those ties for the boys to wear to my sister's wedding...1 1/2 yrs ago! they are getting a bit short...
my breakfast :-) after 46 days without sugar.
i couldn't JUST eat a donut. my paleo ways die hard. the donut was yummy...but not as good as i thought it was going to be.

we went to a different church to worship. our GOOD friends, the snyders, go to a new-ish church and he is the worship leader. we had been wanting to go for a while, and this seemed like a good sunday to do it! it was wonderful.
spent a LONG time that afternoon sitting with pat on the front porch and talking. and then he slept and i read.
took the kids for a bike ride...and let pat stay home by himself (it was the least i could do after he gave me 2 DAYS by myself!)
and we had a nice easter meal at home. just the 8 of us.
crostini with blue cheese and peaches and honey, ham, salad, deviled eggs and resurrection rolls.


followed by brownies and ice cream. that WAS as amazing as i thought it would be ;-)

the joy and freedom and celebration of Easter is so much sweeter when you observe Lent. but after giving up sugar/sweets for the last 3 years, it is also true that nothing...NOTHING is sweeter that His love. while i fully enjoyed eating what i wanted yesterday, not a bit of it satisfied me like His love does. also...just like that verse (1 corinthians 10:23) says, " "Everything is permissible"--but not everything is beneficial." even though i had the FREEDOM to eat whatever i wanted...i knew i shouldn't eat some of it because it was going to hurt my stomach and make me miserable. i still ate some of what i shouldn't. and i suffered for it...just like i do in my life...i look to the things i KNOW won't satisfy like He will...and i suffer the consequences. 

Easter. what a beautiful day. and not an egg hunt or egg basket to be found. it's just too hard to focus on those things AND keep our minds and hearts on what the day is TRULY about.

saturday

i woke up alone in a quiet house. i had a few hours left (or so i thought.)

i went for a run. a long one, like usual. my typical saturday run is 10-12 miles. usually 12 unless i'm in a super time crunch.

i wanted to go longer. i was planning on 14 m iles (the weather was PERFECT. 50 degrees. no wind. perfection.)

i ended up running 15 miles at a 9:10 avg pace! the longest distance i've ever run (did it once before...at least a year ago.) and i KNOW last time i did it i was slower...i remember it was HOT and i was dying.

walked in the door at 9:30 am. thought i had til 11 am or so before pat and the kids got home. they *surprised* me and got home at 9:35 am :-)

 i have to say that i was pretty proud of how i handled that. i wanted to throw a little fit. i had a whole list of things i was going to get done in that hour. but i did some serious mental coaching while i took a quick shower and was ready to enjoy them and leave the list behind.

we had a FUN day ahead!!!

they all showered, i started a load (one of MANY...) of laundry from their camping stuff...and we headed to DC to go to a Nationals game!
it was a GORGEOUS day.
we had awesome seats (that had been given to us...you don't pass up tickets like that for a family of 8!)

this world of no babies and no one NEEDING naps is pretty nice!
{we let them use their own money to buy something...lincoln bought this great hat! levi doesn't really have much money...so he could only afford that $2 hat...he wore it like a REAL hat the ENTIRE day. still is 2 days later. shhh...we got him a REAL hat for his birthday in june :-)}

love him SO much...

 we had a QUIET car on the way home ;-)

got home and had our new favorite dinner...grilled pizza's. everyone LOVES them! (sorry. it's sideways. oh well...)
EVERYone slept good that night!!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

spring break 2014

i didn't mean to take a break from this space. but i did. and it meant i was PRESENT, which has been nice. and i think i'll do more often.

but i do miss sharing my heart here. i will get back to it.

but not today. today is just the fun that our spring break has been...so we don't forget. i do so love having these kinds of posts to look back on.

this past week was spring break. i know. it's hard to tell, they've been home for MONTHS with all the snow ;-)

we were here for spring break. no beach or disney world. just home.

when they got home from school last friday, i had this calendar hung up...i wrote some pretty boring stuff in fancy ways so that it seemed FUN and EXCITING! that still works for my kids...when will it stop working? i hope not ever!
 the first weekend of spring break the weather was INCREDIBLE. like perfection. on saturday, we were outside ALL day. no rest time. no naps. just outside. it was amazing and wonderful and i was so so happy.

(and we all had pink cheeks :-) i LOVE that!!)

one of the things we did was enlarge our "garden." it is just this little area in our backyard...

we made it a little bigger. probably twice the size. 
until anything gets planted there, these boys have free reign to dig and play. {sawyer had tball practice that day. are his pants not THE CUTEST?!?}
sunday was...sunday. church. rest. and our next burger.

monday was chore day. the kids each have daily, weekly and monthly chores. they usually get to do their weekly and monthly chores whenever they choose, as long as they get done. because i knew what the rest of the week was going to be like, i told them ALL weekly chores had to be done on monday. so we worked hard all together. and the WHOLE house was cleaned!

bailey and levi took a little dancing break...
we rode our bikes to a smoothie place for an afternoon snack (with some free coupons) once we were done. and then rebekah made dinner! (she had to for a school assignment.)
that night (still monday!) we went to our church's Easter program. it was incredible. AND a friend joined us that we hadn't seen for TOO long. it was a GREAT day all around!

tuesday was also busy. lincoln has to take a test at the end of his homeschooling year...to prove i'm teaching him ;-) our school system offered it this day for free to all homeschoolers. so we dropped him off...i was more nervous than he was for SURE.
then we went to the gym. rebekah and i ran 2 miles on treadmills next to each other. then we got the other kids from the kids klub and we all went and swam at the indoor pool! THEN we went to get frozen yogurt for a morning snack - how fun is that?!? {i admit, it was super nice to do a "food outing" without the kid that can't ENJOY a food outing and makes it dramatic. we just enjoyed and had fun!}
we went and picked lincoln up and then drove to baltimore, md to meet a friend from college! she lives in wisconsin but was there visiting her grandma. i hadn't seen her in 15 years...but we've kept in touch and i couldn't believe i was going to get to see her!

we had hoped to meet at a park and let our kids run while we caught up. BUT...it was POURING rain. so we met at a mall. i got there a little early and we scoped it out...
it was a FANCY mall. all kinds of fun stuff. a photobooth :) it was fun fitting us ALL in there!


and then they arrived!! i'd been dying to see these 2 boys together! they are a lot alike...and her daughter and my bailey were SO fun to watch together!

this woman is amazing. so strong. so intelligent. so giving. i could have spent DAYS with her...but was thankful for a few hours!
all our kids! we migrated around the mall...and didn't spend a dollar! (besides my photobooth pictures!)
it was a LONG day. we had left the house at 8 am...and got home at 7 pm!

the next day was pretty low-key (for us.) *slept in* then made captain america pancakes!

spent the day packing and grocery shopping for going CAMPING the next day! grocery shopping for 15 people with 6 kids *helping* is fun ;-)

that afternoon we went on a LONG bike ride...
thursday morning, pat and ALL the kids left to go camping with some other dads and kids. this was bailey's "i'm going camping" outfit. she is too much...
i have had the last 2 days to myself. in my house. (they get home soon...)

i did some chores (mowed the grass. cleaned out my closet. prepped food for easter.)
i also got some boring stuff done - cleaned out my email inbox. researched homeschool curriculum for next year.

and some fun projects done!

and enjoyed time with friends each night.

but the SWEETEST hours were spent here. i will share more later...but on the morning of the day that Jesus DIED for us, He met me and showed me...once again...how very much He loves me. io us.t was like i was dying of thirst and i couldn't drink the water fast enough. He was speaking so clearly and so specifically to my heart. oh, He is so gentle and kind t

we have a fun, amazing weekend ahead. i could use a couple more days to get everything done i wish i could get to, but i would just keep finding more to do. the list never ends.

i can't wait to get my arms on pat. and it will be nice to see my kids, too ;-)

spring break 2014. not bad. not bad at all!